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November 5, 2008 - 12:00am
Office of Justice Program, National Institute of Justice, Washington, DC

NIDA Organizer(s): Bethany Griffin Deeds, Ph.D., M.A., Yonette F. Thomas, Ph.D.

Meeting Purpose and Intent:

Research increasingly suggests the importance of studying drug abuse from the perspective of the behavior of individuals in their environments. While the immediate (proximal) environments of drug abusers have received considerable research attention, principles of behavior derived from macro-environmental disciplines, particularly economics, have great potential for expanding understanding of a more comprehensive set of influences on drug abuse. Existing work has focused on community, contextual and individual factors that influence drug abuse and its consequences such as educational and occupational problems, crime and violence and co-morbid conditions. Less attention has been given to social environmental phenomena such as drug trafficking and distribution, gang activities, family disruption and neighborhood dysfunction. In response to these research gaps, NIDA and NIJ issued a joint program announcement for collaborative investigations on retail drug markets to generate research on (a) economic analyses that can contribute to our understanding of factors involved in street-level drug markets, (b) the application of behavioral economics, marketing research, drug availability market factors, the psychology of decision-making, economic model building and related areas to drug abuse etiology, and (c) potential environmental influences on behavioral economic measures such as delayed discounting functions or impulsivity and risk taking.

Brief Discussion of Meeting Outcome:

NIDA and NIJ convened a meeting of principal investigators who received grants from this joint initiative to share research activities, accomplishments and challenges, discuss preliminary research data and create an opportunity for grantees to network and discuss future collaborations and research activities. Preliminary data was presented by four study teams including:

  1. The Dynamics of the Methamphetamine Markets: A Systematic Approach to the Process [Henry Brownstein, Ph.D.];
  2. Dynamics of Retail Methamphetamine Markets in New York City [Travis Wendel, J.D.];
  3. Drug Market Characteristics: Antecedents and Sequelae on the U.S. Mexico Border [Robin Pollini, Ph.D., M.P.H.]; and
  4. Assessing the Development of Drug Markets Using Bayesian Space-Time Models [Paul Gruenewald, Ph.D.].

In addition, Barbara Haggerty and Gamaliel Rose shared perspectives on retail drug markets from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The meeting concluded with a dialogue of the most pressing challenges facing the research teams and the creation of an NIJ programmatic bulletin summarizing key research activities.